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Fantasy Football QB Index: Final Rankings

The top-rated passer in the NFL this season is...

Pittsburgh Steelers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The final quarterback numbers have been crunched and I have produced my final QB index rankings for 2018.

After a tense struggle all season where each quarterback was ahead of the other for 8 weeks each, Patrick Mahomes has pipped Drew Brees to be the 2018 QB Index Champion. Mahomes edged it thanks to a strong Week 17 showing as he helped the Chiefs secure the number one seed in the AFC. It was a slight anticlimax as Brees earned himself a rest in Week 17 after the Saints secured the NFC number one seed the week before.

Mahomes’ 69.7% rating in the win against the Raiders meant he finished 2018 with a 68.8% rating to Brees’ 67.4%, and with it, the 8th best QB Index season I’ve ever recorded, slotting him between Brees’ 2011 campaign (68.9%) and Tom Brady’s record breaking 2007 season (68.4%). Brees’ 67.4% rating also cracks the top 10 all time, and is the second best rating of his career (behind 2011), and even better than his 2017 campaign (66.0%), where he topped the QB Index.

Mahomes’ stats this season are insane, especially for someone who entered the season with just one start under his belt. 5,097 passing yards, 50 touchdowns and over 400 fantasy points. His fantasy production (26.07 ppg) was almost 5 points per game better than the next best quarterback (Matt Ryan, 21.46 ppg). He was also the most consistent quarterback in the league, with an above league average rating (greater than 52.4%) in 15 of his 16 games, with 12 games above 60% and 8 above 70%, all league leading numbers. For as good a sophomore season as it was for Mahomes, and I for one am ready to crown him league MVP, he doesn’t quite take the crown for the best second season in the NFL. Dan Marino’s 1984 campaign still rates higher, even 34 years later, with Marino’s average rating coming in at 69.6%, driven by him only taking 13 sacks to Mahomes’ 26.

Incredibly for Drew Brees, nobody seems to be talking about his own record breaking season where for the third time in his career, and the second season in succession, he broke the NFL completion percentage record. After completing 72.1% of his passes a year ago, Brees smashed that mark to finish with a new mark of 74.4%. And it’s not like it was just all short passes either, the new record was set with an increased yards per attempt of 8.2, up from 8.1 he managed last season and against a 2018 league average of 7.4. All this at age 39 as well.

QB Index Winners 2009-2018

Year Player Team QB Index Grade
Year Player Team QB Index Grade
2018 Patrick Mahomes KC 68.8%
2017 Drew Brees NO 66.0%
2016 Matt Ryan ATL 70.2%
2015 Andy Dalton CIN 66.0%
2014 Tony Romo DAL 67.5%
2013 Peyton Manning DEN 68.9%
2012 Peyton Manning DEN 66.9%
2011 Aaron Rodgers GB 72.4%
2010 Tom Brady NE 64.0%
2009 Drew Brees NO 66.3%

Behind the incredible Mahomes and Brees was 2016 MVP Matt Ryan. His 63.3% rating was the second best of his career on a 7-9 Falcons team that was never realistically in the playoff hunt. Ryan finished second in fantasy points in 2018, with 4,923 passing yards, 35 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions, almost identical numbers to his 2016 season (4,944/38/7). You can look to blame it on an underperforming offensive line that had Ryan on his back 42 times and led to a run game that I had ranked dead last this season, though they were admittedly missing their lead back for the majority of the season.

Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck round out the top 5, with ratings of 62.6% and 61.9% respectively. For Rivers, it was his best rating for 5 years (63.2% in 2013), whereas for the de facto comeback player of the year, it was Luck’s best ever rating, beating the 57.9% rating he had in 2014. Luck just got better as the season went on, with his rating in his final 10 games, where the Colts went 9-1, 22% higher (70.1%) than his first 6 games where the Colts were 1-5 (48.2%).

In terms of the rookie quarterbacks, all five selected in the first round saw significant action this season, though it was Baker Mayfield who blew the rest of his class away, breaking the rookie record for touchdown passes with 27 and finishing with a QB Index rating of 58.4%, good enough for 10th in the NFL. More than the numbers, it was the attitude and mature play from Mayfield that proved that he was the correct choice for the Browns as first overall, as they bounced back from their 1-31 record over the past two seasons, to finish 7-8-1. He was even a borderline legit fantasy starter, averaging 17 fantasy points in his 14 games, good enough for 21st in the league.

Behind Mayfield, the rest of the rookies didn’t fare too well with their QB Index ratings, with Sam Darnold (33rd), Lamar Jackson (34th), Josh Allen (37th) and Josh Rosen (39th) finished outside the top 32 passers in the league. For Jackson and Allen however, they were able to make up for any inconsistency with their arms by finishing first and second in QB rushing yards with 697 and 631 respectively, plus 13 total touchdowns between them. Lamar Jackson in just 7 starts, averaged 18.62 fantasy points per game, good enough to finish 13th in points per game amongst quarterbacks as he beat the record for rushing attempts by a QB with 147.

Josh Rosen was spared the ignominy of being the lowest rated passer of 2018 by his namesake across the country in New York. Josh McCown finished with a 2018 rating of just 23.2% in the three games (three losses) where he stood in for Sam Darnold and the Jets this season, though Rosen’s rating of 31.6% was by far the lowest of any quarterback to start 10 games or more.

Looking ahead to the playoffs and who is on the best form heading into the postseason, the below table shows the QB Index ratings of the starting quarterbacks over the last 5 weeks of the season. Magic man Nick Foles leads the way, but can he lead the Eagles back to the promised land when he and his bruised ribs suit up against Khalil Mack and the number one defense in the NFL? On the other hand, Drew Brees and Jared Goff will need to use their bye weeks to regroup as they were two of the lowest rated passers over the final weeks of the season.

Playoff QB Index Form - Weeks 13-17

Name Team QB Index Form
Name Team QB Index Form
Nick Foles PHI 68.2%
Patrick Mahomes KC 63.9%
Tom Brady NE 60.9%
Deshaun Watson HOU 59.1%
Andrew Luck IND 58.8%
Dak Prescott DAL 56.4%
Mitchell Trubisky CHI 53.4%
Russell Wilson SEA 50.9%
Philip Rivers LAC 48.5%
Drew Brees NO 47.7%
Jared Goff LA 46.7%
Lamar Jackson BAL 44.5%

2018 QB Index – Final Standings (Min 100 Pass attempts)